DA's Office commemorates Natchitoches Parish crime victims, families

Alice Hardison, crime victim assistance coordinator for the Natchitoches Parish District Attorney’s Office and Cloyd Benjamin, Jr., first assistant district attorney, share their support to crime victims attending the Crime Victims Week event. (Photos: Chadwick Melder)

NATCHITOCHES, La. (Natchitoches Parish DA's Office) - In commemoration of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, the Natchitoches Parish District Attorney’s Office joined other law enforcement leaders in hosting a memorial event to support crime victims and to raise awareness about crime victims’ issues and rights.

The event, “ Honoring Our Past. Creating Hope for the Future”, was held at the Natchitoches Parish Courthouse to commemorate, honor, and remember crime victims and their families.

The event also recognized crime victim advocates and volunteers who have courageously worked to support victims and advocated for increased rights for crime victims.

“Today, we honor the rights of victims, including the right to be heard and to be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect. Also, we recognize the need to help them through the criminal justice process to ensure that they are an integral part of criminal prosecutions,” said District Attorney Billy Joe Harrington.

The event included a candle lighting ceremony in observance of Natchitoches Parish crime victims.

Melinda Newman, a crime victim survivor and now advocate, spoke at the event to share her experiences and how victims can rebuild their strength and resiliency in the aftermath of crime.

“In 2005, my life changed forever when my family faced a horrible tragedy," Newman said. "But, the power of my lord and savior gave me the strength I didn't know I had to begin to heal, learn, and cope with what happened. I am grateful for the victim support services we have in Natchitoches Parish. Initially, just after our tragedy, I was not sure how to deal with everything that I faced. I didn't know where to start or who was available to help. But, with great support of victim services and the support from law enforcement, I was able to better understand the judicial process and that I was not alone in my journey. Now, almost 14 years later, I am in a position to help others who face similar circumstances."

“I thank our fellow law enforcement partners in Natchitoches Parish who compassionately help crime victims throughout the law enforcement process,” District Attorney Harrington.

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